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Take a Quick Tour of Our Solar System
By definition any celestial body orbiting a star which is large enough to be rounded by it's own gravity, but not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion can be defined as a planet, so long as it has cleared it's sight of all other solid objects. Our solar system has eight of these planets, including our earth. Along the years, when we first saw the planets dancing across the night sky ( the word planet means "wanderer"), we saw them with curiosity, we could not possibly of known what they were, we could not of imagined their massive size, they were mysterious and unchartable territory, which is why we gave them names.
The names of our planets, from the closest to the farthest of the sun:
Our solar system consists of a star, and all celestial objects which are bound to it by gravity. The star is the focal point of any solar system, it certainly is for ours. Our sun truly is our "star", for us (the sun) radiates heat and light in such proportions as though it was intended to nurture us, intended to bring about our lives. The sun could make our planet so unbearingly hot and inhospitable that not even the toughest of life, found in the remotest of places in our planet would survive. Our star could also desert us, making our planet so cold that every living cell would freeze and liquid water would be a luxury that would be impossible to find. But this is not so, our star is perfectly placed as to harbour life, but a quick look out and we are not the only ones that revolve around this star.
Mercury - The Sun's Smallest Child
Mercury is the innermost (closest to the sun) and the smallest planet in our solar system. It's Volume is roughly 6.083 × 1010 km³ or 5% that of our planet. One year for mercury (a revolution around the sun) is 87 earth days. Mercury's extreme temperatures makes it the coldest planet in the solar system it can be as cold as -184o C but it can also get as hot as 427o C. Mercury's sever temperature range is caused by it's lack of atmosphere. Without an atmosphere mercury is immensely hot during the day and chillingly cold during the night.
Venus - The Angry Goddess
This planet was named after the roman goddess of love. Venus is the second closest to the sun, and it's size is very similar to our earth. The Volume of Venus is 9.38 × 1011 km³ or roughly 86 percent of the earth. Venus's temperature however is severely more inhospitable, because of it's distance to the sun and it's carbon dioxide rich environment it can reach up to 464° C. Making Venus the hottest and planet of our solar system.
Earth our blue marble
Our home, the only planet we have ever stood on, the only planet we can stand on-atleast for now. This planet is everything we call home, every culture has given it a different name. The Italians named our home Terra, the Arabs called it Ard, the Turks Dünya. For all cultures the earth is a powerful symbol of home. The earth may not be the largest planet (it's volume is1.0832073 × 1012km3 ), the hottest or coldest ( average temperature 13.8 and 14.6 degrees Celsius) but it is the only planet ever known to harbor life.
American astronomer Dr. Carl Edward Sagan “The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. From it we have learned most of what we know. Recently, we have waded a little out to sea, enough to dampen our toes or, at most, wet our ankles. The water seems inviting. The ocean calls. So”
Mars - The god of war
Mars was named after the roman god of war, it is also commonly referred to as the red planet. Mars is half the size of the Earth and is the closest planet to our own. The volume of mars is 1.6318 × 1011 km³ or 15% of Earth. Although Mars is known for potentially having prehistoric life it is now plagued with impact craters, valleys, deserts, volcanoes, and polar ice caps. Temperatures vary from −140 ° C (−220 °F) during winters in polar regions to 20 °C (68 °F). There is evidence that liquid water used to run through Mars (valleys, underground tunnels) but the theory is still being debated.
Jupiter - god of thunder
Jupiter was named after the roman god of thunder, considered to be the ruler of all gods. Jupiter is the fifth furthest planet from the sun and is the largest celestial body orbiting our sun. The volume of Jupiter is 1.43128×1015 km³ or 1321.3 Earths! Jupiter is a gas giant like Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. If you tried to land on Jupiter's hydrogen surface you would probably fall right through without ever reaching solid ground. But that ground is there, Jupiter has a dense rocky core, but unfortunately the core's composition is not yet well known.
Saturn - god of agriculture and harvest
Saturn was named after the roman god of agriculture and harvest, it's namesake is "Saturday". It is the sixth planet from the sun and is the second largest in the solar system. Saturn is also a gas giant, it has a thick cloudy atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. The volume of Saturn is 8.2713 × 1014 km³ or 763.59 Earths! Being as far from the sun as it is it's temperature can get as cold as -175 degrees C! One day in Saturn (a rotation on it's axis) takes about 10 and a half hours.
Uranus - god of the sky
Uranus was named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky, the name in regards to it's pale blue colour as seen from earth. This is the third largest planet in our solar system with a volume of 6.833 × 1013 km³ it is 63 times the size of earth! Uranus too is a gas giant but it's not like it's cousins, Saturn and Jupiter. It's atmosphere like them consists largely of liquid and gaseous hydrogen and helium but Uranus's composition also has portions of ice, solid (Water, ammonia and methane).
Neptune - god of the sea
Neptune is the furthest planet from our sun, it's beautiful dark blue surface brought it the name of Neptune the roman god of the sea. What the Romans didn't know was that Neptune too had solid water in it's compositions. Much like it's brother Saturn it is a gas giant with a hydrogen and helium rich atmosphere and has portions of ice, among which is water. One day on Neptune will last 16 days here on earth.
Eight Beautiful PlanetsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Size Comparision - Solar system and Stars
What is your favourite Planet?
What is your favourite star? Why? answer in the comment box
" I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky. " American astronomer Carl Sagan